What you do during the day while you are unemployed is important?
Let’s face it, the construction industry to include industrial, retail, residential and commercial market segments are still pretty slow. Every type of contractor (General Contractor, Construction Management, Mechanical, and Electrical, Heavy Highway etc.), engineer and supplier is being affected. Clients still have needs but those needs are being pushed off to some future date as project funding is difficult to secure, bonding is a challenge and corporate revenues are still at historically low levels. Now is the time to really think about how you are spending your unplanned and unpaid vacation. Unemployment payments are small and they will not last forever so you really need to have a game plan for how you will be spending your period of unemployment. Here are some simple and practical ideas of how to productively fill your day.
- Take a Contract Job: It really doesn’t matter if it is for 20 hours a week or for full time for 4 weeks. This is an opportunity to bring in some income for your family but it will also keep your project management or estimating or design skills sharp. As my dad would always say “use it or lose it”. So keep active and use those skills. Another HUGE benefit to part time work is that you may end up with a permanent job with one of your contract employers. If they have a hiring need, it will be easier for them to add to you to their permanent payroll than it will be to interview and hire a new person.
- Start a New Business: I have seen many large corporately owned contractors who have determined that they no longer want a branch office in a particular market so they close their doors. Many times a senior project manager or an operations manager will partner with the chief estimator and they will take over the office and start their own company. They can often times buy the equipment for pennies on the dollar from their old employer. The overhead is usually less as there is no longer a large corporate headquarters to support.
- Take a class / Earn a new Certification: Now you have time to finish those last few classes you need to get your engineering degree. It is amazing how many people in the construction industry is just one semester short of earning their 4 year degree. It is also a great time to take a class at your local community college. You can learn the latest updated version of AutoCAD, maybe brush up on your 3D design skills or even learn another estimating software program like Quickpen or Estimator. Check with the software development companies as you can take classes directly from them.
- Volunteer in your community: Volunteering is really a win-win situation. You get to keep your skills fresh while a worthy organization like Habitat for Humanity gains your immense knowledge and highly regarded skills. The jobsite can be a great place to network as other volunteers on that project might be able to help you. They often times come from the construction industry and they may have leads on job openings or might even be able to help you make that all important first contact with a hiring authority.
- Be a guest Blogger: There are many sites, just like this one, who welcome your unique perspective on the construction industry. You can write a guest blog about some of your work experience. You can detail some of your success stories such as how you created a more efficient ways to install a system. These articles can help create more exposure for you. If you are interested in being a guest blogger on this site, please leave us a message and we will be back in touch with you.